Deaf individuals may find it challenging to communicate effectively. Even with hearing loss, communication requires great focus, energy, and patience. Loud environments or individuals who talk too fast can make communication difficult for anyone, especially those with hearing loss and other hearing problems.
This article will explore different interaction options for deaf or people with hearing impairment, emphasizing the importance of finding the most appropriate option for effective learning and social interaction. These methods in daily communication can create a more inclusive environment for all individuals to communicate clearly and understand others better.
The Diversity in Hearing Impairments
There is no “one size fits all” way of communicating, nor is there a “typical” deaf person. Everyone is unique and brings their own communication needs and preferences based on the context and purpose of the communication.
Teaching how to communicate effectively is a joint effort between the deaf and the hearing person. Flexibility and creativity are key. When you meet deaf people for the first time, it is important not to be prejudiced about the person’s communication method. Instead, ask directly about the person’s communication needs.
Some things to consider when choosing a communication method for your child and family are:
- Family’s preferences
- Child’s development
- Family’s support
- Local services
Deaf people communicate in many ways. It is important to understand the methods of learning for hearing impaired children because every child’s needs are unique and different. Below is a brief description of these interaction options you may consider.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device you wear inside or behind your ear. This instrument amplifies certain sounds so the hearing person can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities.
They can be especially useful for individuals with hearing loss. Modern hearing aids are both clever and technologically advanced, offering advanced speech recognition and flexibility in different listening environments.
American Sign Language
American Sign Language uses hand, facial, and body positions, movements, and expressions. ASL is another whole language, like English is a whole language. Children born to deaf parents learn ASL just as hearing children learn spoken language from hearing parents.
Hearing parents must work with those proficient in ASL Because ASL is not a “method” of learning English but a separate language. This method can help them learn the language and pass it on to their children to have the opportunity to learn ASL.
Cued Speech facilitates lipreading by having the speaker simultaneously use hand gestures while speaking to help the listener visually distinguish between similar-looking sounds on the speaker’s lips.
It uses a combination of speech reading, hand shapes, and gestures to communicate speech sounds. For example, when speaking, p, b, and m all look the same on the lips. Consequently, the words pat, bat, and mutt sound the same to someone with language reading. Hand shapes for p, b, and m allow the listener to understand the spoken word.
The oral method of communication uses language reading (lip reading) and enhances the child’s residual hearing for speech development and production. This method assumes that a deaf child or someone hard of hearing can communicate effectively with hearing individuals.
Auditory Verbal teaches individuals to develop auditory and speech skills through one-on-one therapy. Attention is given to using the remaining ears with or without amplification. This approach requires extensive use of an individual’s auditory and linguistic skills.
Parents will be involved in all aspects of the treatment and apply the techniques they study with their child at home. Families using the audio-visual approach are encouraged to enroll their children in regular schools and general education rather than in special education or deaf education.
Fostering Inclusivity and Strengthening Bonds
Communication is a right that everyone is entitled to participate in, hearing or not. Individual preferences, the severity of hearing loss, and specific communication issues should guide the approach to communication. Acknowledging the rich diversity of deaf communities, we must actively promote inclusion by providing the resources and support needed for effective communication.